Growing up, my sister and I usually had at least one set of matching dresses. It was probably all in my head, but somehow, if my little sister was wearing the exact same thing as me, I felt like I looked younger. I preferred the outfits where I had the “big girl” style and my sister had a slightly different style in coordinating fabric. So when I make dresses for my girls, I tend to make them “coordinating” instead of straight-up “matching”. With quilting cotton, it works really well to use mix prints from the same collection. These are a big sister/little sister Roller Skate Dress + Tunic that I made using Dutch Treat fabric by Betz White.
You may remember that I worked with Betz White on some projects last year. Betz just debuted her first line of fabric, Dutch Treat, which features modern graphic designs inspired by the Pennsylvania Dutch. It looks really cute with the clean, simple style of the Roller Skate Dress. You can see more of the designs and read about the inspiration for the collection here.
For my little girl, who prefers twirly dresses and feminine designs, I made the dress with pink floral fabric. I made her a size 6. I think I could have gone down a size, but this should still fit next summer! I stuck with the basic dress pattern and skipped the extra collar options. I like the simplicity of the dress and it was super-quick to sew. If you decide to make this dress, double-check your yardage requirements! I underestimated how much fabric I would need for these because I didn’t factor in the full lining when I read the requirements. Two yards seemed like plenty for a girl’s dress, but it wasn’t enough. I dug through my stash and found a gray polka dot print for the lining of this dress.
For my big girl, I made the tunic version of the pattern in a more neutral color. She’s wearing a size 10, which seems to be just right. I also underestimated fabric here, but managed to squeeze it out of the 2 yards. Though the print has a direction, it is subtle. I decided to flip the pattern pieces to make them work and it’s really not noticeable unless you study the design very carefully.
The pattern instructions are for an elastic waist. I modified the waistband to have a drawstring. I sewed the upper line of the waistband casing, then marked two buttonholes at the center front. I fused a little piece of interfacing on the wrong side, and sewed the buttonholes in the top layer. (If you do this, just be careful to get the lining layer out of the way.) Then I finished the second line of stitching below the buttonholes. I used a length of elastic about 3/4 of the width of the back of the dress, and then sewed twill tape to each end. Once I threaded the elastic and drawstring through the buttonholes, I tacked it in place, matching the ends of the elastic section with the side seams. The elastic adds comfort and keeps the gathers uniform on the back and the drawstring adds some personality. I really like how this worked out and I will do it again on future versions!
I usually prefer the paper versions of Oliver + S patterns, but I used the digital version of the Roller Skate Dress. The arranging and taping of the pattern is pretty simple and painless compared to some of the bigger, more complicated patterns. With just two main pattern pieces and a small sheet of collar pieces, the digital version was just as easy and more convenient than the paper version for this pattern. Just thought I’d throw that out there for anyone that might be curious.
I loved the Roller Skate pattern and will definitely use it again. I made the first one pretty quickly, but the second one was even faster. The construction was so simple (even with my addition of the drawstring) that I didn’t even need to look at the directions for the second one. From cutting to hemming, it took less than 2 hours…easily done during naptime!
*fabric courtesy of Betz White and Riley Blake…thank you!
Do you like making coordinating clothes for your kids? Do your kids like wearing them??
The very first “real” sewing project I made was more-or-less matching jumpers for myself and two sisters. We loved them and wore them constantly (until we outgrew them!) We still like to “match”, even though our clothing style preferences are different. It’s also fun because we sometimes get mistaken for twins/triplets or get thanked for something one of the others did…
Just came upon your blog, and had to comment. I grew up in Lancaster county,so I’m very familiar with the hex signs that were the inspiration behind that fabric. I love the designer’s fresh take on such a traditional design. As the youngest of three sisters, I hated the matching dresses because I was wearing those forever as hand-me-downs. But I love your take on making coordinating outfits based on their preferences.
Sara Curtis says
Thank you! We have extended family around that area, so I’m familiar with the fun barn quilts and other inspiration too 🙂